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Le Rondelet 55th Anniversary  
   
(more photos below)
 
 
Le R info provided by Teyssier Family at the Le R 55th Birthday Party.
 
Leonard and Gerri
Paul, Carl, Ralph and Phillip
Edward and family: Elena, Leonard Matthew, and Katherine
Carla (cousin)
 
Architectural Design: Architects: J.R. Meadows, Terence Reid and William Unger Associate Architect
  1. This building was way ahead of its time in the 60's. Was there an architect / builder who influenced you in the design of the building.
Form follows function is a principle of design associated with late 19th and early 20th century architecture and design in general, which states that the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose.
 
In this endeavor, due diligence began in 1964, when Leonard went on a business trip where they studied a number of residential waterfront high-rise projects in Miami, New York City, and Puerto Rico.
 
Miami was selected because of the comparable climate to San Diego.
 
Puerto Rico was selected because relatively new and large inventory of residential projects due to the current building boom going on at the time.
 
And New York because of the diversity of residential high-rise projects.
 
They studied what worked and what didn’t.
 
A couple of prominent key design features they wanted to incorporate in a luxury apartment building were to create unique habitats with privacy, views, comfort, and minimal maintenance.  
 
One design feature fed into another.  For example, a round shape allowed for maximum bay view potential for every unit as well, and this round shape had the added benefit of creating unique views from one unit to another.  As such, no one had the exact same bay view.
 
And due to the circular nature of the building floor plate, each wedge-shaped floor plan had its own unique oriented view of the bay, which created added privacy from adjacent units.
 
Additional privacy was created by raising the unit floor plans two feet above the common outside balcony, which prevented passersby from inevitably looking into the apartments. 
 
And since San Diego is typically blessed with 300 days of sunshine a year, they eliminated an interior common hallway.  Every apartment unit has its own outdoor access - another privacy feature. 
  1. What influenced you to orient the building this way?  
The round shape was used so that everyone would have a nice view of the San Diego Bay, and since the balconies are wedge shaped outwards, there is an added level of privacy between units.  And, the building’s opening was oriented to the northwest, to capture the prevailing winds.  
 
  1. Why are there so many different floor plans?
Two primary reasons:
  1. Different floor plans creates a sense of uniqueness that one has from one’s neighbor
  2. Providing more options is a means of satisfying more potential customers 
  3. Floor layouts, based on the location within the building were directed by capturing the best view. 
  1. When and why did you know you would convert the apartments to condos?
We converted to condos because people liked their units so much that they wanted to own them.  This was around 1973.
  1. What is your proudest accomplishment in this property?
The realization of how much people loved living at the Le Rondelet; and the sense of community is overwhelming – from the very beginning to this day.  Folks see it as their forever home.  The Teyssier Family still owns a (rented) condo on the 4th floor.      
 
And creating gainful employment for his kids. This project was a family effort.  Everyone of the kids helped at the property in some capacity or other.  The older kids were often the relief managers certain nights of the week, and all the kids were called upon to keep the premises clean – landscape maintenance, sweeping the garage and common areas, for example.
  1. Is there anything that surprised you about the project?
That we were able to complete the entire project in 11 months!  We started with drilling the piles, and within 11 months we rented the first unit.  We had three crews working the job, forming, pouring, and stripping concrete, every day.  This however took at least two years of advance planning before the drill rig showed up on the site.  Construction was in 1967-1968.
  1. How many stories was Le R supposed to be?
It was always scheduled to be 6 stores, as that was the local ordinance height limit at the time.  It was also noted that the piling supporting Le R are 60-80 feet and go down to the bedrock.
  1. Where were the doors designed and made?
The doors were designed to match an ancient design which the door fabricator had.  The name of door fabricator is not known, but is was a local company in El Cajon.     
  1. Any other "fun facts" that you may want to share regarding LR.
Durability - The building was designed and constructed to last a long time.  It is a poured-in-place concrete structure, vs. wood, as most apartment building are built, even today.  The brown paint was actually mixed in with the concrete to minimize the need for re-painting.
 
Windows - When we were looking at projects in New York, there was a window washer strike at the time and all of the building’s windows were very dirty.  To avoid a similar problem at the LR, we designed the building so that every window could be accessed with nothing more than a simple 6 foot A-frame ladder.  Also, you will notice at the end of every walkway, and on each floor by the elevator access, the window is actually a store front style door with a lock and on a hinge so that it can be unlocked and swung open to clean the outside glass from the walkway. (Note:  These hinges are now rusted so the windows can’t be swung open; the cost to replace these hinges is very expensive).
 
Tuna Canning Factory - Also, when we purchased the site, there was a fish canning factory located here.   When we told our friends that we bought a property on Shelter Island, they would say, “Oh that area is awful, it has a fish canning factory nearby and it smells!”.  Little did they know that was our new purchase!  In order to get funding for the project and to help the bankers understand it better, Teyssier’s built a scaled three-dimensional model, then brought the model to the top floor of the canning factory, then propped it on a tool box, then took a photo of the model with the San Diego view in the background.  The photo was so realistic that some bankers thought Le Rondelet was already built!
 
Signature Tree - The large (Moran Bay Fig) tree was acquired from a new freeway being constructed in Riverside County at the time.  It was transported to Point Loma on a large flatbed truck and Teyssier’s were worried that the tree would die because it is a tropical tree.  The arborist who was helping instructed us to bury heated electrical cables surrounding the root ball.  This was an obvious success as this signature tree fills this exterior garden space.  It is estimated that this tree is 80 years old.   
 
Building Entrance - the Portico has always been the building’s main entrance despite some pamphlets depicting the entrance through the courtyard.
 
1st Floor Condos - These were always apartments / condo and not offices, as has been rumored.  Due to their large patios, they became highly desirable.
 
Pool - it never had a diving board.
 
Wine Room - This is located at the north end of the 6th floor, across from the Service Elevator, but it is no longer a wine room – it is used for storage for cleaning supplies and other documents that the HOA is required to maintain.  History:  in 1968 a highly desirable potential tenant wanted to rent on the 6th floor but the apartment did not have space for a large wine collection, so this space was constructed (with an air conditioner on the roof above the Service Elevator).  If interested in checking out this space, contact Nick or a Board Member.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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